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The International Council of Women is the first global women’s NGO, founded in 1888 for the advancement of women around the world. Founding members included Susan B. Anthony, May Wright Sewall and Frances Willard, and fifty-three women’s organizations from nine countries were represented at its first gathering. For over a century, the International Council of Women has actively promoted and protected global women’s rights, fighting to establish gender equality as an international norm.
The International Council of Women is a federation of National Councils that aims to bring together women’s organizations from all countries to promote human rights, equality, peace and women’s involvement in all spheres of life. After the establishment of the United Nations, the federation became one of the original NGOs in general consultative status with various UN agencies. Additionally, it played a major role, along other women’s NGOs, in the UN’s 1975 proclamation of the International Women’s Year, and has been active in the World Conferences on Women in 1975, 1980, 1985 and 1995. Today, the federation continues to work closely with the UN, undertaking various projects to empower women around the globe.